THIS little Work presents itself to the Publick without any affectation of intrinsick importance, and merely as the herald of another; yet the Orien­talist and Antiquary may be pleased to see, for the first time, an Epitome of Persian Annals, in the original lan­guage of a native historian.

The want of such a Work induced me to seek, among my Manuscript Chronicles, the most concise and com­prehensive account of the ancient Ira­nian* Sovereigns; and the following pages are the result of my inquiry. To the Persian text and the English translation, I thought it necessary to subjoin some collateral illustrations from other manuscripts. This task, during the performance of it, became a regular examination of each King’s reign: And although I studied to keep my Work within the compass of a single and a small volume, and resolved to derive my illustrations entirely from sources unexplored hitherto by Euro­pean writers; yet, by an imperceptible accumulation of extracts, the super­structure became too vast for so slight a foundation as the original text.

I could not, however, prevail on myself to throw away what had been acquired by laborious perseverance, or to reduce that which seemed necessary to the illustration of obscure passages, I had collected a mass of extracts, which not only were, in a peculiar degree, useful and curious, on the Antiquities, Philology, and Geography of Persia, but threw such light on many important and interesting points of Sacred and of Profane History, as I had never expected to find in any post-Mohammedan authors.

To whatever degree the Reader’s curiosity may be excited by this decla­ration, I make it with the confidence of one who conceives, that eight or nine years spent in close application to the study of Eastern Languages and Literature, have enabled him to appre­ciate justly, after repeated perusals, the value of his own manuscripts; and I entertain not any apprehensions that the future publication of those extracts will disappoint the Reader’s expectation.

As the original text of the Jehan Ara (which is here given with little more than the English translation) was found inadequate to the mass of notes and illustrations, I extended my plan, and chose, as a suitable ground-work, that Section of the Leb-al-towarikh,* which contains the ancient annals of Iràn. This work I selected from a multiplicity of other Tarikhs, both greater and smaller; because it com­prises within a moderate compass, more useful and important historick information, less intermixed with fable and romance, than any other. The frequent mention in M. D’Herbelot’s Bibliotheque Orientale of the Leb-tarikh, is a sufficient testimony of its excel­lence; and it is without doubt the same book which Pietro della Valle once intended to translate.*

Having given, from this Work, the original text of the Persian Annals, with a translation, I shall proceed to illustrate the reign of each King in regular succession, by examining the traditions recorded in various rare, ancient and authentick manuscripts— slightly noticing such as have been already printed or translated, and deriving my materials, as I before said, from sources hitherto unexplored by Europeans. It were, indeed, unpar­donable in me to repeat a twice-told tale, or incroach upon the labours of another; since few libraries, either publick or private, afford a more ample stock of original matter than my own Manuscript Collection; acquired through the kindness of friends residing in the East—indefatigable perseverance in transcribing, and dili­gence in inquiry—and, I must acknowledge, a degree of expense, far beyond that which sound prudence would have prescribed to one whose purse but seldom overflowed.

Of the Historical Works, or Manu­script Tarikhs, from which I have principally derived my materials, I shall here subjoin the titles—naturally beginning with mention of Tabari’s “Great Chronicle*,” the most ancient and most excellent of all. It is comprised in two large volumes, containing a general history of the Asiatick World from the Creation, the Persian and Arabian annals, with the Jewish records, interspersed with many curious traditions which must have descended to the venerable Historian through some other channel than that of the Koran. Tabari, though a native of Persia, composed this admirable Work in the Arabick language. Fortunately, however, it underwent a Persian trans­lation within a few years after the author’s death—for the original Ara­bick is no longer to be found.*

But the Antiquary may console him­self for this loss, as the Persian trans­lator has added to the text of Tabari much curious and important matter. From the original work, Elmakin, an Arabian writer, has principally com­piled his Annals of the Saracens, beginning with that epoch at which my researches end, the age of Mohammed. I have used three copies of Tabari, all fine manuscripts; following, in general, one brought from India, and given to me by that most ingenious Orientalist, Jonathan Scott, Esq. This copy (in two folio volumes) was transcribed in Persia, A. Hegiræ 850, (A. D. 1446.)

Having dwelt so long on this article, I shall briefly mention the other Tarikhs which I have consulted; not observing in this place any chro­nological order, as a more full and regular description of them shall be pre­fixed to my Illustrations.

Tarikh Moagem, <Arabic> a very elegant and flowery composition, interspersed with poetry; containing the History of Persia till the time of Nushirvan.

Tebkat Nasseri, <Arabic> “This precious work,” says M. Anquetil du Perron,* “is of the year of the Hegira 655, of Christ 1257;” yet my copy, the only one I have as yet seen, is dated 650, <Arabic> (of Christ 1252.) It contains the History of Asia, Jews, ancient Arabians and Persians, Khalifs, Mohammedan Kings of India, Persia, Khorassan, &c. to the descendants of Gengiz Khan.

Tarikh Gozideh, <Arabic> a most excellent compilation of Asiatick His­tory, by Hamdallah Mustoufi, author of the Nozhat al Coloub. It concludes with an account of Cazvin, his native city.

Rozet al Sefa, <Arabic> a general History of the Eastern World; in seven (sometimes in nine, or twelve) volumes, by Mirkhond, who lived in the fifteenth century. A geographical index is subjoined to the last volume.

Khelassut al Akhbar, <Arabic> an abridgment of the Rozet al Sefa, by Khondemir, the son of Mirkhond above mentioned. My copy of this abridgment consists of above 1200 pages, quarto.

Habib-al-Seir, <Arabic> a general History of Asia, by the same Khondemir: a most valuable compo­sition, in several volumes: the copy which I have used, consists of four volumes of unequal size.

Zein-al-akhbar, <Arabic> a very curious and extraordinary work; con­taining the ancient History of Persia, Jewish, Christian, Magian and Hindoo religious fasts and ceremonies, annals of the Mohammedan Kings and Kha­lifs, geographical anecdotes, and chro­nological tables, &c.

Tarikh Kapchak Khani, <Arabic> so called after the author, Kapchak Khan Kuli Beig, of Balkh; who has most ingeniously writ­ten the History of Asia from the cre­ation of Adam, of the Deluge, Moses, Christ; the Greeks and Romans, from the time of Alexander; Arabians, Copts, Chaldeans, &c. &c.; the Kha­lifs, Mohammedan Kings of Persia, Hindoostan, Tartary, &c. down to the year 1137 of the Hegira (of Christ 1724.) The latter part of this work affords many curious historical anec­dotes concerning Balkh, Bokhara, the countries bordering on the river Jihoon (or Oxus), &c.